WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, May 10, the Ohio House approved Senate Joint Resolution 2, a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would increase the threshold to pass constitutional amendments from 50% to 60%. If approved by Ohio voters, S.J.R. 2 would make it more difficult to amend the state constitution.
However, it’s not clear when voters will vote on this proposed amendment. Ohio Republicans originally intended to hold a vote during an August special election this year — even though their omnibus voter suppression law, House Bill 458, banned August elections for most purposes. The GOP advanced a bill to authorize an August special election, but it stalled in a House committee. S.J.R. 2 says the vote will be held on Aug. 8, but without passing a bill specifically permitting this special election, some speculate that it may be illegal to hold a vote on the amendment on that date.
Recent Republican attempts to restrict ballot measures in Ohio began in 2022, when Republicans attempted to push a similar resolution through the lame duck legislative session. When first proposing the resolution, Republican sponsors directly linked the proposal to ongoing efforts to enshrine abortion rights in the Ohio Constitution and limit partisan gerrymandering. If enacted, S.J.R. 2 would make those efforts much less likely to succeed, cementing Ohio within a broader trend of Republican leaders across the country who have taken steps to prevent the voters from enacting policy changes over their wishes.